‘Presumption of innocence’ should not be destroyed, court says while hearing riots case
A city court on Friday said the “presumption of innocence” should not be destroyed at the threshold of the justice process through a media trial, while hearing a plea moved by former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid alleging a “vicious media campaign” against him in a Delhi riots case.
The court said it hoped that the media would follow “self regulation techniques” while reporting on a case pending investigation or trial.
“Self regulation is the best mode of regulation,” chief metropolitan magistrate Dinesh Kumar said.
It said the news reports have only highlighted that accused Khalid had confessed his involvement in the riots but none of the news items made a clarification to its readers/viewers that such a statement, even if actually made, could not be used by the prosecution as evidence.
During another hearing in a riots case on Friday, another sessions court in the Capital asked the Enforcement Directorate to respond to a plea by former suspended municipal councillor Tahir Hussain, alleging “trial by media” against him in a money-laundering case related to the violence in northeast Delhi last year.
The plea also sought roll-back of the alleged defamatory content published against him in the media.
Meanwhile, another city court directed the superintendent of Tihar Jail to appear before it on a plea moved by JNU student and Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita seeking permission to send notes to her counsel, which she made from the charge sheet filed against her in a riots case, in a sealed cover from prison.
Additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat issued a notice to the superintendent to appear along with the legal officer before the court on January 23.
The directions came after the jail authorities submitted in the reply filed to the application, that as per the Delhi prison rules, the concerned officials have to approve the notes before they are sent to her lawyers.